In good and bad economies, it can be hard to do anything that could jeopardize a paycheck. After being involved in an accident at work, some workers feel thankful to still have a job when they come back, but these feelings of anxiety are usually unnecessary—and even if you have a reason to worry, you can still get help without giving up compensation or your job. If you're worried about speaking up after a workplace injury or just want to know what you may be owed, here are a few things to consider before signing any worker's compensation paperwork.
Why Be Worried?
If you're going to be fired from a job because of an accident at work, what you do with your worker's compensation claim shouldn't be affected at all. Many states have laws requiring worker's compensation insurance to be carried by the employer, such as North Carolina's requirement covering employers with three or more employees.
By speaking up for your worker's compensation claim, you're not rocking the boat or causing your company to do anything more than it already should be doing by law. If for some reason you feel threatened by asking about compensation or the details of your workplace injury, there's likely a liability reason that could be worth a lot more than the standard payments under worker's compensation.
Speak with an attorney if anything seems strange. An attorney is helpful in all stages of the worker's compensation process—even if it seems like everything is going smoothly—but any kind of actions that seem threatening or concealing could expose failure to provide a safe work environment, misconduct by someone at the work site, or other situations that could provide more compensation for you and a safer future for your co-workers.
What Else Can Be Earned?
Aside from worker's compensation, an attorney may suggest different compensation routes that fit your situation. For example, failure of your company's safety equipment may mean that both you and your employer should seek compensation from the equipment vendor.
If a non-employee entered the workplace and caused the incident, a personal-injury claim may need to be filed. Criminal charges can be considered as well, but it's best to let an attorney figure out the most likely to succeed and most comprehensive compensation options available.
Depending on the severity of the injury, worker's compensation alone may not be enough. Even being forwarded to social-security disability and being approved may not be enough money to live a normal life while taking care of a new condition. Contact a worker's compensation attorney, such as one at The Reed Noble Law Firm PLLC, to make sure you're not being limited by just one compensation option.